Association members worry about lake rights
As summer approaches, many Minnesotans are looking forward to time at the lake. While some people may travel to lake homes or vacation spots, others own year-round property on a lake. Whatever a property owner’s situation is, people need to make sure their lake access and riparian rights are protected.
One group of homeowners is currently questioning whether their rights to a lake are being threatened. These property owners are members of a homeowners association. The association has a 2,950 square-foot lakefront common area that is supposed to be open for the use of members of the association.
However, 30 years ago, one of the association’s members — and current Vice President of the association’s board — built a lakefront dock. This dock encroached on the association’s common area. This person did not have permission to use the common area for the dock, however, the association did not take any action against this particular homeowner.
Last summer, the association and the man entered into a real estate agreement. The parties signed an exclusive use agreement which gives the man full rights to the land in question. Other association members say that this legal agreement was not approved by the board.
This dock dispute has now come to the attention of the body that is governing the lake where the property is located. This body has now demanded that the parties come into compliance with rules that prohibit the use of exclusive use agreements. Members of the association worry that this means the association will sell the land outright to the member for a nominal fee.
Disputes over lakefront property are not unusual in Minnesota. This valuable land needs to be protected from encroachment by others. In these cases, people need a complete understanding of their property rights and the available remedies. With the right help, people can find a solution that protects their access to the water.
Calaveras Enterprise, “Homeowners unhappy with Poker Flat board member,” Charity Maness, April 24, 2015
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